Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a powerful way to grow your WooCommerce site. But it can also feel overwhelming. We’ll cover five WooCommerce SEO tactics that can make it a little easier.
SEO is the art and science of getting your website found in the free or organic search space of Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Why does that matter? Because that’s how people find stuff to buy:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
- 43% of all eCommerce traffic comes from organic Google searches.
You should care about SEO because it’s a simple way to increase sales. Rank higher in the search engines, more people will find your site, more people will buy your stuff.
Watch the Webinar
This valuable SEO knowledge comes from a webinar presentation about managing SEO for WooCommerce stores with Lindsay Halsey from Pathfinder SEO and Chris Lema, Nexcess’ VP of Products and Innovation. You can watch the full webinar or read our summary below.
How to Approach SEO
Just because SEO sounds pretty simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy to accomplish. A lot of people quickly feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and the changing technical landscape.
You need to approach WooCommerce SEO like climbing a mountain. It can be an overwhelming goal, but you need to break it down into incremental steps. Ask yourself what you can accomplish in the next hour to get closer to effective SEO.
Improving SEO will take some work, but you can get there if you:
- Plan and process: You’ve got to have a plan and process to be effective. You can’t take a random or scattershot approach.
- Learn from others: You’re not in this alone. See what others are doing and make adjustments.
- Pick reasonable but lofty goals: Aim high. Not so high that you’ll never get there, but make some serious goals.
- Put one foot in front of the other: You have to put in the work, but take it one step at a time.
5 WooCommerce SEO Tactics
We’ve got five tactics to help improve any store’s search engine rank:
1. Start With Qualitative Keyword Research
Keywords are the words and phrases people enter into search engines. They’re also known as search queries. Keyword research is the process you’ll use to identify the phrases your customers actually use.
This is important because it’s foundational to everything you do with SEO.
Too often store owners dive into SEO without doing any qualitative keyword research. Too often we think we know our audience, so we plow forward without doing the research. But it’s important to stay in touch with your audience and know the exact language they’re using. It may surprise you.
There is a six-step process that can help with keyword research:
- Understand your audience: Start by asking questions and listening.
- Brainstorm: Do some research to see what terms your audience is using.
- Quantify: How many people are actually searching for a given keyword?
- Organize & evaluate: Organize search terms into groups and clusters. Which ones are worth pursuing?
- Map: Align keywords to pages on your site.
- Repeat: Do it again and again, because the SEO space evolves, the tools get better, and your business changes.
Again, store owners are often quick to skip the first two steps. It’s tempting to get right into the data and see what keywords are popular. But before you get there, you need to do that research and make sure you’re not missing some important search terms because you didn’t realize what terms people were searching.
2. Share Your Expertise Via Content Marketing
Stores don’t create enough content.
That’s a problem because search engines love content. Google cares about expertise, authority, and trust (EAT).
Content builds expertise. So stores need to be sharing with the world why they’re an expert in their particular area. Give search engines a reason to link to your store.
The average first-page result on Google is 1,890 words.
So long form content wins. You need to write a lot of content to be able to share expertise and give search engines something to point to.
Offer detailed, in-depth information and create ultimate guides.
Helpful tip: Many store owners balk at writing, so make it easy. Use an audio recording app to get them talking. Ask a bunch of questions and they’ll have no problem sharing helpful insights. Simply transcribe those answers, and you’ve got a good start on quality content. Rev.com is one service that offers transcription for $1 per minute.
Another good content approach is to aim for the position zero result. This is a newer feature where Google directly highlights a result to answer a specific question. You can take your keywords and apply them to a grid framework to generate a number of questions and then answer them.
When it seems hard to flesh out expertise, this can be a good way to showcase the breadth of knowledge.
3. Automate Your On-Site Optimization
Store owners can often be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their sites. Trying to improve the SEO on such a massive scale can be a daunting task.
Instead of being overwhelmed, create a strategy that balances automation with customization.
There are a number of elements on a web page that matter to search engines, including page titles, meta descriptions, H1-H6 tags, alt text, internal links, and more. There are also rich snippets, enhanced features such as reviews, star ratings, best use cases, and more that will deliver higher rankings and better click-through rates.
Some of these elements can easily be automated.
Store owners can also look at their sites and decide to customize top-level pages like the home page, category pages, top products, blog landing page, etc., while automating lesser pages like blog posts or product pages.
The Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin can be especially helpful for automating WooCommerce SEO. You can create standard page titles and meta descriptions using variables, so they’re still useful and SEO-friendly, but you don’t have to rewrite every single one.
Invest an hour into automation and see how much you can improve your on-site SEO.
4. Leverage Relationships to Build Backlinks
Good backlinks build authority. When different sites link to the same page, that page probably has some helpful info. So search engines pay attention to backlinks.
But when we talk about link building, too often we think of spam, black hat SEO, and lame email requests. While stores do need to build links, they should never resort to these tactics.
Think of link building like being a good neighbor. You want to be proud of your neighborhood and you want to build good relationships. So focus on those professional relationships.
Think about all the different types of business relationships you have:
Often it would be entirely appropriate for some of those sources to link to your site. All you have to do is ask. When you’re building on a pre-existing relationship, it’s not weird or awkward or spam. It can be mutually beneficial.
But don’t outsource link building. Do it yourself.
5. Give the Search Engines Structure
Search engines pay attention to the structure of sites. Too often stores either over-complicate or under-do site structure.
It’s especially important for WooCommerce SEO because eCommerce sites can be massive. Search engines need help understanding a site that large.
Here are three quick structure best practices:
- Keep it simple: Don’t get overly complicated.
- Keep it scalable: Make sure you come up with a structure that can grow as the store grows.
- Keep it limited: Every page should be no more than three clicks from the homepage.
It can often be helpful to map out what a site structure looks like:
5 WooCommerce SEO Tactics
So, remember these simple SEO tactics to help improve any WooCommerce store:
- Start with qualitative keyword research: Remember not to skip the important steps of audience research and brainstorming.
- Share expertise via content marketing: This one can be overwhelming for store owners, so make it easy for them.
- Automate your on-site optimization: Try investing an hour and see how much can be automated.
- Leverage relationships to build backlinks: So many stores are skipping this step, but it can be a powerful way to climb the search engine ranks.
- Give the search engines structure: This not only helps search engines, but it makes a store easier to navigate for customers.